The Greatest Nonfiction Books Since 1970

all | 2000 | 1990 | 1980 | 1970 | 1950 | 1900 |
  1. 101 . London: The Biography by Peter Ackroyd

    Image of London: The Biography


  2. 102 . Care of the Soul: Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness by Thomas Moore

    Image of Care of the Soul: Guide for Cultivating Depth and Sacredness

    This New York Times bestseller (more than 200,000 hardcover copies sold) provides a path-breaking lifestyle handbook that shows how to add spirituality, depth, and meaning to modern-day life by nur...

    - Google

  3. 103 . The Frugal Superpower: America's Global Leadership in a Cash-Strapped Era by Michael Mandelbaum

    Image of The Frugal Superpower: America's Global Leadership in a Cash-Strapped Era

    Which of America's essential international commitments can we afford to keep in this time of diminished financial resources?

    - Google

  4. 104 . Diaries by Alan Clark

    Image of Diaries

    Alan Clark started keeping a regular diary in 1955 which lasted until August 1999, during his second spell as a Member of Parliament, when he was incapacitated due to the onset of the brain tumour ...

  5. 105 . A Child Called 'It' by Dave Pelzer

    Image of A Child Called 'It'

    A Child Called "It": One Child's Courage to Survive is Dave Pelzer's 1995 autobiographical account of his alleged abuse as a child by an alcoholic mother, Catherine Roerva.

  6. 106 . The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family's Century of Art and Loss by Edmund de Waal

    Image of The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Family's Century of Art and Loss

    The Ephrussis were a grand banking family, as rich and respected as the Rothschilds, who “burned like a comet” in nineteenth-century Paris and Vienna society. Yet by the end of World War II, almost...

    - Google

  7. 107 . Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang

    Image of Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

    The story of three generations in twentieth-century China that blends the intimacy of memoir and the panoramic sweep of eyewitness history—a bestselling classic in thirty languages with more than t...

    - Google

  8. 108 . Why the West Rules - For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future by Ian Morris

    Image of Why the West Rules - For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future

    Why does the West rule? In this magnum opus, eminent Stanford polymath Ian Morris answers this provocative question, drawing on 50,000 years of history, archeology, and the methods of social scienc...

    - Google

  9. 109 . The Death of Woman Wang MMP by Jonathan Spence

    Image of The Death of Woman Wang MMP

    In The Death of Woman Wang the award-winning historian Jonathan Spence paints a vivid picture of an obscure time and place: provincial China in the late 17th century. Drawing on a range of sources,...

    - Google

  10. 110 . "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard P. Feynman

    Image of "Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman!": Adventures of a Curious Character

    A New York Times bestseller—the outrageous exploits of one of this century's greatest scientific minds and a legendary American original. Richard Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, thri...

    - Google

  11. 111 . Schott's Original Miscellany by Ben Schott

    Image of Schott's Original Miscellany

    Schott's Miscellanies are a trio of best-selling books by Ben Schott. They consist of a collection of trivia generally centred on the culture of the United Kingdom (and to a lesser extent the rest ...

  12. 112 . Born to Run by Chris McDougall

    Image of Born to Run

    At the heart of Born to Run lies a mysterious tribe of Mexican Indians, the Tarahumara, who live quietly in canyons and are reputed to be the best distance runners in the world; in 1993, one of the...

    - Google

  13. 113 . How to Cook by Delia Smith

    Image of How to Cook

    Delia's How to Cook is a simple-to-follow cooking course for people of all ages and abilities. In this comprehensive two-part book series, Delia returns to the very roots of cooking to look at the ...

  14. 114 . Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain by Peter Fryer

    Image of Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain

    Staying Power is recognised as the definitive history of black people in Britain, an epic story that begins with the Roman conquest and continues to this day. In a comprehensive account, Peter Frye...

    - Google

  15. 115 . The Private Life of Chairman Mao by Li Zhi-Sui

    Image of The Private Life of Chairman Mao

    From 1954 until Mao Zedong's death 22 years later. Dr. Li Zhisui was the Chinese ruler's personal physician. For most of these years, Mao was in excellent health; thus he and the doctor had time to...

    - Google

  16. 116 . Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

    Image of Eating Animals

    Jonathan Safran Foer spent much of his teenage and college years oscillating between omnivore and vegetarian. But on the brink of fatherhood-facing the prospect of having to make dietary choices on...

    - Google

  17. 117 . A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

    Image of A Year in Provence

    A Year in Provence is autobiographical novel by Peter Mayle about his first year in Provence, and the local events and customs. It was adapted into a television miniseries starring John Thaw and Li...

  18. 118 . Madame Curie - A Biography by Eve Curie by Eve Curie

    Image of Madame Curie - A Biography by Eve Curie

    Marie Curie is a women who changed the face of science for all time, not just because of her discovery of the radioactive element Radium and her work with it, but because of her incredible strides ...

    - Google

  19. 119 . The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Naomi Klein

    Image of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism

    The bestselling author of No Logo shows how the global "free market" has exploited crises and shock for three decades, from Chile to Iraq In her groundbreaking reporting over the past few years, Na...

    - Google

  20. 120 . Ain't No Makin' It: Aspirations and Attainment in a Low-income Neighborhood by Jay MacLeod

    Image of Ain't No Makin' It: Aspirations and Attainment in a Low-income Neighborhood

    This classic text addresses one of the most important issues in modern social theory and policy: how social inequality is reproduced from one generation to the next. With the original 1987 publicat...

    - Google

  21. 121 . Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging Times by Paul Rogat Loeb

    Image of Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in Challenging Times

    Soul of a Citizen awakens within us the desire and the ability to make our voices heard and our actions count. We can lead lives worthy of our convictions. A book of inspiration and integrity, Soul...

    - Google

  22. 122 . A People's Tragedy by Orlando Figes

    Image of A People's Tragedy

    This multi-award book is history on an epic yet human scale. Vast in scope, exhaustive in original research, written with passion, narrative skill, and human sympathy, "A People's Tragedy" offers a...

  23. 123 . The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf

    Image of The Beauty Myth

    The Beauty Myth examines beauty as a demand and as a judgment upon women. Subtitled How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women, Wolf examines how modern conceptions of women's beauty impact the sp...

  24. 124 . The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway

    Image of The Road from Coorain

    Jill Ker Conway is a noted historian, specializing in the experience of women in America, and was the first woman president of Smith College.

    - Google

  25. 125 . Working by Studs Terkel

    Image of Working

    Working (full title: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do) is a book by the noted oral historian and radio broadcaster Studs Terkel. It is an exploration o...

  26. 126 . The House of Morgan by Ron Chernow

    Image of The House of Morgan

    The winner of the National Book Award and now considered a classic, The House of Morgan is the most ambitious history ever written about an American banking dynasty. Acclaimed by The Wall Street Jo...

  27. 127 . Darkness Visible by William Styron

    Image of Darkness Visible

    Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness is U.S. writer William Styron's memoir about his descent into depression, and the triumph of recovery. First published in December 1989 in Vanity Fair, the ...

  28. 128 . A Bright Shining Lie by Neil Sheehan

    Image of A Bright Shining Lie

    A Bright Shining Lie is a book by Neil Sheehan, a former New York Times reporter who covered the Vietnam War. It is about U.S. Army retired Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann and the United States i...

  29. 129 . Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner

    Image of Cadillac Desert

    Cadillac Desert is about land development and water policy in the western United States. Subtitled The American West and its Disappearing Water, it gives the history of the Bureau of Reclamation an...

  30. 130 . James Joyce by Richard Ellmann

    Image of James Joyce

    This acclaimed biography has won both the James Tait Black and the Duff Cooper Memorial Prizes, and is considered by many to be the definitive account of Joyce's life and work. The fresh materia...

  31. 131 . The Great War and Modern Memory by Paul Fussell

    Image of The Great War and Modern Memory

    Fussell's landmark study of WWI remains as original and gripping today as ever before: a literate, literary, and illuminating account of the Great War, the one that changed a generation, ushered in...

  32. 132 . The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris

    Image of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

    The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (1979) is a Pulitzer Prize winning biography of President Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris. It is the first in a planned trilogy with the second volume Theodore Re...

  33. 133 . The Gate of Heavenly Peace by Jonathan D. Spence

    Image of The Gate of Heavenly Peace

    Chronicles the history of the Chinese Revolution, focusing on the people and events of modern Chinese history, the writings of modern Chinese authors, the issues facing the People's Republic, and m...

  34. 134 . The Rise of the West by William H. McNeill

    Image of The Rise of the West

    The Rise of the West explores human history in terms of the effect of different world civilizations on one another. McNeill assumes "decent familiarity with Western history," which allows describin...

  35. 135 . The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels

    Image of The Gnostic Gospels

    The first major and eminently readable book on gnosticism benefiting from the discovery in 1945 of a collection of Gnostic Christian texts at Nag Hammadi in Egypt.

  36. 136 . The Journalist and the Murderer by Janet Malcolm

    Image of The Journalist and the Murderer

    The Journalist and the Murderer is a 1990 study by Janet Malcolm about the ethics of journalism. Attracting heavy criticism upon first publication, it is now regarded as a "seminal" work.

  37. 137 . Florence Nightingale by Cecil Woodham-Smith

    Image of Florence Nightingale

    Draws on research by army historians to describe the cover-up of disastrous events in the Crimea, and to seperate Nightingale's real achievments from her mythical ones.

  38. 138 . The Taming of Chance by Ian Hacking

    Image of The Taming of Chance

    In this important new study Ian Hacking continues the enquiry into the origins and development of certain characteristic modes of contemporary thought undertaking in such previous works as the best...

  39. 139 . Operating Instructions by Anne Lamott

    Image of Operating Instructions

    "I woke up with a start at 4:00 one morning and realized that I was very, very pregnant." So begins novelist Anne Lamott's journal of the birth of her son, Sam, and their first year together. She m...

  40. 140 . A Distant Mirror by Barbara Tuchman

    Image of A Distant Mirror

    A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, published in 1978, is a work by American historian Barbara Tuchman, focusing on life in 14th century Europe. To provide a central figure in her swe...

  41. 141 . Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin

    Image of Three Cups of Tea

    In 1993 Greg Mortenson was the exhausted survivor of a failed attempt to ascend K2, an American climbing bum wandering emaciated and lost through Pakistan’s Karakoram Himalaya. After he was taken i...

    - Google

  42. 142 . Beyond Freedom and Dignity by B.F. Skinner

    Image of Beyond Freedom and Dignity

    In Beyond Freedom and Dignity, Skinner suggests that a technology of behavior could help to make a better society. We would, however, have to accept that an autonomous agent is not the driving forc...

  43. 143 . Theophrastus: His Psychological, Doxographical, and Scientific Writings by William Wall Fortenbaugh, Dimitri Gutas

    Image of Theophrastus: His Psychological, Doxographical, and Scientific Writings

    Theophrastus (/ˌθiːəˈfræstəs/; Greek: Θεόφραστος; c. 371 – c. 287 BC[1]), a Greek native of Eresos in Lesbos, was the successor to Aristotle in the Peripatetic school. He came to Athens at a young ...

    - Google

  44. 144 . Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane

    Image of Kaffir Boy

    Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa is Mark Mathabane's 1986 autobiography about life under the South African apartheid regime. It focuses on the b...

  45. 145 . Maus by Art Spiegelman

    Image of Maus

    Maus: A Survivor's Tale is an autobiography by Art Spiegelman, told using the comics form. Parts of the story were originally published in the magazine RAW between 1980 to 1991. The complete story ...

  46. 146 . First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung

    Image of First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers

    One of seven children of a high-ranking government official, Loung Ung lived a privileged life in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh until the age of five. Then, in April 1975, Pol Pot's Khmer Rou...

    - Google

  47. 147 . Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

    Image of Reading Lolita in Tehran

    Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books is a book by Iranian author and professor Azar Nafisi.

  48. 148 . Red Scarf Girl by Ji-li Jiang

    Image of Red Scarf Girl

    This accessible autobiography is the true story of one girl's determination to hold her family together during one of the most terrifying eras of the twentieth century. It's 1966, and twelve-year-o...

    - Google

  49. 149 . John Adams by David McCullough

    Image of John Adams

    John Adams is a 2001 biography of Founding Father and second U.S. President John Adams written by popular historian David McCullough. It won a 2002 Pulitzer Prize (for "Biography or Autobiography")...

  50. 150 . The Path to Power by Robert Caro

    Image of The Path to Power

    The Path to Power, Caro retraced Lyndon Johnson's life by temporarily moving to rural Texas and Washington, D.C., to better understand Johnson's upbringing and to interview anyone who had known Joh...

How is this list generated?

This list is generated from 114 "best of" book lists from a variety of great sources. An algorithm is used to create a master list based on how many lists a particular book appears on. Some lists count more than others. I generally trust "best of all time" lists voted by authors and experts over user-generated lists. On the lists that are actually ranked, the book that is 1st counts a lot more than the book that's 100th.

If you have any comments, suggestions, or corrections please feel free to e-mail me.

The Lists

If you're interested in the details about how the rankings are generated and which lists are the most important(in my eyes) please check out the list details page.

  1. Top 100 Works in World Literature

    The editors of the Norwegian Book Clubs, with the Norwegian Nobel Institute, polled a panel of 100 authors from 54 countries on what they considered the “best and most central works in world literature.” Among the authors polled were Milan Kundera, Doris Lessing, Seamus Heaney, Salman Rushdie, Wole Soyinka, John Irving, Nadine Gordimer, and Carlos Fuentes. The list of 100 works appears alphabetically by author. Although the books were not ranked, the editors revealed that Don Quixote received 50% more votes than any other book.

    Norwegian Book Clubs, with the Norwegian Nobel Institute
  2. Great Books of the Western World

    Great Books of the Western World is a series of books originally published in the United States in 1952 by Encyclopædia Britannica Inc. to present the western canon in a single package of 54 volume...

    Great Books Foundation
  3. Biblioteca

    38 Argentinean Authors were polled by the Argentinean government for their favorite books. This is a tally of all books with more than 1 vote.

  4. El Pais Favorite Books of 100 Spanish Authors

    El Pais ran A Poll of 100 Spanish Authors and Their Favorite Books. This is summary of all the books

    El Pais
  5. Finest Works of Fiction

    In Novels and Novelists, A Guide to the World of Fiction (1980) Seymour-Smith and the other contributors selected about 55 works of fiction as receiving full marks on the four criteria used for evaluation: Readability, Characterization, Plot, and Literary Merit. These represent, for the contributors, the finest works of fiction that have been written.

    Martin Seymour-Smith and Editors
  6. For The Love of Books

    Ronald Schwartz polled 115 major writers about their favorite books, and published each of their ballots in the book “For the Love of Books”.

    For The Love of Books
  7. Pour une Bibliothèque Idéale

    "In the early 1950s Raymond Queneau asked several dozen French authors and critics to list the hundred books they would choose if they had to limit themselves to that number. He reproduced all their responses in the book Pour une Bibliothèque Idéale (Gallimard, 1956), along with the overall top 100 list reproduced above."

    Raymond Queneau
  8. The 25 Favorite Books of 100 Francophone Writers

    Télérama, a weekly French magazine, asked 100s of french authors to list their top 10 favorite books of all time.

  9. The Ideal Library

    100 prominent cultural figures, mostly writers, were polled for their choice of an "ideal library". The following list is a tally of every book that received at least 2 votes.

  10. The New Lifetime Reading Plan

    Clifton Paul "Kip" Fadiman (May 15, 1904 – June 20, 1999) was an American intellectual, author, editor, radio and television personality. The New Lifetime Reading Plan provides readers with brief, informative and entertaining introductions to more than 130 classics of world literature. From Homer to Hawthorne, Plato to Pascal, and Shakespeare to Solzhenitsyn, the great writers of Western civilization can be found in its pages. In addition, this new edition offers a much broader representation of women authors, such as Charlotte Bront%, Emily Dickinson and Edith Wharton, as well as non-Western writers such as Confucius, Sun-Tzu, Chinua Achebe, Mishima Yukio and many others. This fourth edition also features a simpler format that arranges the works chronologically in five sections (The Ancient World; 300-1600; 1600-1800; and The 20th Century), making them easier to look up than ever before. It deserves a place in the libraries of all lovers of literature.

    The New Lifetime Reading Plan
  11. The Top 10: The Greatest Books of All Time

    The Top 10 book chosen by 125 top writers from the book "The Top 10" edited by J. Peder Zane.

    The Top 10 (Book)
  12. The 100 Best Non-Fiction Books of the Century

    The 100 best non-fiction books of all time judged by a panel of historians, authors, publishers, and experts for the National Review Magazine.

    National Review
  13. The 100 Greatest British Novels

    BBC Culture polled book critics outside the UK, to give an outsider’s perspective on the best in British literature.

  14. 100 Life-Changing Books

    National Book Award-winning authors got together to select what was, in their opinions, 100 life-changing books.

    National Book Award
  15. The 16 Greatest Books of All Time

    Two book editors for the present their list of the 16 greatest books of all time, with a list of runner-ups as well.

    NYU Local
  16. The 50 Best Books of the Century

    ISI defined "best" as "volumes of extraordinary reflection and creativity in a traditional form, which heartens us with the knowledge that fine writing and clear-mindedness are perennially possible." All the books are non-fiction. The first 5 are ranked, the rest are alphabetical.

    Intercollegiate Studies Institute
  17. The Bigger Read List

    The English PEN staff compiled a list of the best works not written in the English language. This list combines their list with the suggestions made by Fred Armentrout, President of Hong Kong (English-Speaking) PEN.

    English PEN
  18. The Celebrity Reading List

    The Gardiner Public Library, from 1988 to 2007, polled various famous figures from all around the world (writers, artists, filmmakers, politicians, actors, etc.) to ask for their book recommendations. This list is based on the books that received at least two mentions.

    Gardiner Public Library
  19. Koen Book Distributors Top 100 Books of the Past Century

    Intended as a companion to the infamous Modern Library ranking of the top 100 books of the past century, this list represents a different viewpoint--that of the booksellers themselves. Compiled from the responses of over 150 Koen Book Distributors customers, the following titles represent the very best in modern literature.
  20. Recommended Books

    "Discover which books made a difference in the early lives of the most eminent achievers of our times."

    Academy of Achievement
  21. The Modern Library | 100 Best Nonfiction

    The Modern Library
  22. ZEIT-Bibliothek der 100 Bücher

    Die Zeit
  23. "Best Foreign Work of Fiction"

    The French literary magazine Transfuge asked a group of francophone writers to pick their best foreign work of fiction. These are the results.

  24. Great Books

    "Great Books is an hour-long documentary and biography program that aired on The Learning Channel. The series was a project co-created by Walter Cronkite and former child actor Jonathan Ward under a deal they had with their company Cronkite-Ward, the The Discovery Channel, and The Learning Channel. Premiering on September 8, 1993, to coincide with International Literacy Day, the series took in-depth looks into some of literature's greatest fictional and nonfictional books and the authors who created them. The series is mostly narrated by Donald Sutherland." - Wikipedia

    The Learning Channel
  25. "Our Readable Century", The Best Books of the 20th Century

    Literary publication January Magazine polled writers for their favorite works of 2oth century fiction. These were the most mentioned books.

    January Magazine
  26. 100 Best Books

    Michael Sexson, English teacher at Montana State University, in 2000 had his class of 45 students compose a list of the 100 greatest works of literature ever written, in their collective opinions.

    Montana State University
  27. Select 100

    "This list was compiled by tabulating nominations by UWM faculty, staff and students for the Select 100. It includes changes which have resulted from nominations received since the original list was released. We asked you to recommend books which you have found to be so useful and important that no one could consider himself/herself an educated or enlightened person without having read them. This is your cumulative response."

    University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  28. 50 Books That Changed the World

    "For centuries, books have been written in an attempt to share knowledge, inspiration, and discoveries. Sometimes those books make such an impact that they change the way the world thinks about things. The following books have done just that by providing readers an education in politics and government, literature, society, academic subjects such as science and math, and religion."

    Open Education Database
  29. Best German Novels of the Twentieth Century

    The Best German Novels of the Twentieth Century is a list of books compiled in 1999 by Literaturhaus München and Bertelsmann, in which 99 prominent German authors, literary critics, and scholars of German ranked the most significant German-language novels of the twentieth century. The group brought together 33 experts from each of the three categories. Each was allowed to name three books as having been the most important of the century.

  30. The 100 Best Books in the World

    German bookseller website makes their selection for the "100 greatest books ever written". (in German)
  31. The 100 Greatest Books Ever Written

    Easton Press's selection of the greatest books of the Western Canon.

    Easton Press
  32. Världsbiblioteket (The World Library)

    Världsbiblioteket (The World Library) was a Swedish list of the 100 best books in the world, made in 1991 by the Swedish literary magazine Tidningen Boken. The list was compiled through votes from members of the Svenska Akademien, Swedish Crime Writers' Academy, librarian, authors and others. Approximately 30 of the books were Swedish.

    Tidningen Boken
  33. 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime

    A bucket list of books to create a well-read life, from Amazon Book Editors. (USA)
  34. 100 Books to Read in a Lifetime

    Amazon UK editors select 100 books that they deem "essential". (UK)
  35. 110 Best Books: The Perfect Library

    From classics and sci-fi to poetry, biographies and books that changed the world… we present the ultimate reading list.

    The Telegraph
  36. 25 acclaimed international writers choose 25 of the best books from the last 25 years

    The 25 books were chosen by 25 respected names in international writing, many of whom have contributed over the years to Wasafiri magazine, including Indra Sinha, Blake Morrison and Fred D’Aguiar. Note: I don't think the voters understood "the last 25 years" bit. There are many books that are much much older.

    Wasafiri Magazine
  37. 48 Good Books

    Recommended literature by the Undergraduate Academies and Libraries of the University of Buffalo.

    University of Buffalo
  38. Books That Changed the World: The 50 Most Influential Books in Human History

    A 208 page book written in 2009 by Journalist and Author Andrew Taylor. Books from every field of human creativity and intellectual endeavor - from poetry to politics, from fiction to philosophy, from theology to anthropology, and from economics to physics – have been selected to create a rounded and satisfying picture of how 50 towering achievements of the human intellect have built our societies, shaped our values, enhanced our understanding of the nature of the world, enabled technological advancements, and reflected our concerns and dilemmas, strengths and failings. In a series of engaging and lively essays, Andrew Taylor sets each work and its author firmly in historical context, summarizes the content of the work in question, and explores its wider influence and legacy. A fascinating and richly informative read.

  39. Great Books

    A short list of essential works of the Western Canon, as selected scholar Anthony O'Hear.

    Anthony O'Hear
  40. How to Read and Why

    Information is endlessly available to us; where shall wisdom be found?" is the crucial question with which renowned literary critic Harold Bloom begins this impassioned book on the pleasures and benefits of reading well. For more than forty years, Bloom has transformed college students into lifelong readers with his unrivaled love for literature. Now, at a time when faster and easier electronic media threatens to eclipse the practice of reading, Bloom draws on his experience as critic, teacher, and prolific reader to plumb the great books for their sustaining wisdom. - Amazon

    Harold Bloom
  41. How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Reading List

    English professor Thomas C. Foster, at the end of his book, includes a recommended "reading list".

    Thomas C. Foster
  42. Masterpieces of World Literature

    Scholar Frank N. Magill’s famous literary studies reference book. A selection of over 200 of the greatest works of literature of all time

    Frank N. Magill
  43. Radcliffe's 100 Best Novels

    Radcliffe Publishing Course
  44. The Great Books Reader

    "In this volume you will be guided by esteemed professors and writers who have selected excerpts from the most important books in Western Civilization. A brief essay illuminates each excerpt and puts the work in context. Take your education to the next level by letting some of the best thinkers of today walk you through the most influential books in history."

  45. The Modern Library | 100 Best Novels

    Modern Library
  46. Top 100 World Literature Titles

    The top 100 titles for the world literature classroom, ranked in order of popularity, chosen by literature teachers from across the country.

    Perfection Learning
  47. 50 Books to Read Before You Die

    Complex Magazine's selection of 50 must-read books.

  48. The Greatest 20th Century Novels

    Waterstone’s 1999 poll of the greatest 20th century novels, according to British writers. This appeared to be the result of muddle in the way questions were put to and answered by the 47 authors, critics and media personalities who voted in the poll.

  49. The Millions: The Best Fiction of the Millennium

    A poll of The Millions contributors and 48 of their favorite writers, editors, and critics, asking a single question: “What are the best books of fiction of the millennium(2000), so far?” The results were robust, diverse, and surprising.

    The Millions
  50. Books That Changed the World

    Scholar Robert B. Downs selects the "great works that revolutionized our ideas about the universe - and ourselves".

  51. From Zero to Well-Read in 100 Books

    100 books that, in the opinion of editor-in-chief Jeff O'Neal, one should read before deeming themselves "well-read".

    Jeff O'Neal at
  52. Harvard Book Store Staff's Favorite 100 Books

    In early 2010 Harvard Book Store employees worked together to come up with a list of our favorite books. Each staff member submitted a list of their favorite books of all time, in (rough) order of preference. Their selections were then weighted according to the order and the results were tabulated. It was by no means a perfect system, but it was the best way we could think of to quantify opinions that are in no way quantifiable. Now, we read a lot, so it was hard to narrow it down. What we came up with are the books that moved us, that changed the way we think about the world, and that we will happily read over and over again. We hope you enjoy them too.

    Harvard Book Store
  53. The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written

    The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written: The History of Thought from Ancient Times to Today (1998) is a book of intellectual history written by Martin Seymour-Smith (1928–1998), a British poet, critic, and biographer.

    Martin Seymour-Smith
  54. The 21st Century's 12 Greatest Novels

    The BBC polled a number of book critics to determine the greatest novels of the current century so far.

    BBC Poll
  55. TIME Magazine All Time 100 Novels

    Time critics Lev Grossman and Richard Lacayo pick the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present.

    TIME Magazine
  56. 100 Best Novels in English Since 1900

    Jeffrey St. Clair and Alexander Cockburn's favorite novels since 1900.

  57. 50 Books to (Re-)Read at 50

    Your essential short list of novels, nonfiction and biographies Got some time on your hands? This list of 50 great books is a good way to raise your literary IQ. It's by no means the "definitive" list, but each of these masterpieces is at least as relevant and powerful today as when it was written. And they're all still terrific reads.

  58. 50 Greatest Books of All Time

    A list of the 50 greatest books of all time as determined by a panel of secret judges for Globe and Mail. The books are not ranked.

    Globe and Mail
  59. Best Books Ever

    "Whatever it's called we love a list of what we think are the best books of all time so we've compiled an entirely arbitrary and personal selection of 100 titles below for you to disagree with."
  60. In Which These Are the 100 Greatest Novels Editor Alex Carnevale selects his choices for the "100 Greatest Novels of All Time".
  61. The 100 Favorite Novels of Librarians

    Based on a survey of Librarians conducted by Brodart Co., September, 1998 - March, 1999. Brodart is an international company that services libraries around the world.
  62. The 100 Greatest Novels

    Critic Ted Gioia's selection of the 100 greatest novels ever written.
  63. The 100 Greatest Novels of All Time: The List

    The list of essential fiction from the past 300 years from Robert McCrum of The Observer.

    The Observer
  64. The best books in Spanish for the last 25 years

    50 critics, writers and booksellers from both sides of the Atlantic choose the milestones of the last quarter century.

    El Pais
  65. The College Board: 101 Great Books Recommended for College-Bound Readers

    The 101 great books recommended by "The College Board", an American not-for-profit organization that was formed in December 1899 as the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) to expand access to higher education.
  66. The Graphic Canon

    The classic canon of Western civilization meets the artists and illustrators who have remade reading in the last years of the twentieth century and the first decade of the twenty-first century in Russ Kick's magisterial, three-volume, full-color The Graphic Canon, volumes 1, 2, and 3. - Amazon

  67. The Greatest Novel of All Time

    Author William Faulkner named Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" as the single greatest novel of all time.

    William Faulkner
  68. The Novel 100: A Ranking of the Greatest Novels of All Time

    The list below is from the book The Novel 100: A Ranking of Greatest Novels All Time (Checkmark Books/Facts On File, Inc.: New York, 2004), written by Daniel S. Burt.

    The Novel 100
  69. Third World Novels… The Top 10

    There are many gifted Third World writers who can help you transcend barriers of language and tradition but you might find it difficult to know where to start. As a guide, the NI has chosen its ten best novels - the ones which are both enjoyable to read and give a vivid impression of life in developing countries. They are not listed in any significant order.

    New Internationalist
  70. What Is the Best Work of American Fiction of the Last 25 Years?

    The New York Times Book Review's editor, Sam Tanenhaus, sent out a short letter to a couple of hundred prominent writers, critics, editors and other literary sages, asking them to please identify...

    New York Times
  71. W. Somerset Maugham’s Ten Greatest Novels of All Time

    Maugham's studies of the lives and masterpieces of ten great novelists are outstanding examples of literary criticism at its finest. Afforded here are some of the formulae of greatness in the genre, as well as the flaws and heresies which enfeeble it. Written by a master of fiction, "Ten Novels and Their Authors" is a unique and invaluable guide.

    Great Novelists and Their Novels
  72. 100 Essential Books

    The Brazilian cultural magazine Bravo! selects 100 essential books.

    Bravo! Magazine
  73. 50 Memorable Books from 50 Years of Books to Remember

    A representative selection from over 1500 titles on annual lists of Books to Remember from 1956 to 2005. Chosen by a group of librarians who are specialists in their genres, these outstanding works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry provide an informative or transformative reading experience, and are chosen for their literary excellence, uniqueness of concept and command of subject matter.

    The New York Public Library
  74. Donald Barthelme’s Reading List

    81 books recommended by Author Donald Barthelme to his students at the University of Houston.

    Believer Mag
  75. Greatest Prose Works of the 20th Century

    Author Vladimir Nabokov's selection of the Top 4 greatest prose works of the 20th century.

    Vladimir Nabokov
  76. The Best Classics

    The Times selection of the 100 best classic works of literature.

    The Times
  77. The Best Southern Nonfiction of All Time

    The best southern United States nonfiction books of all time judged by 130 literary experts and authors.

    Oxford American
  78. The 80 Books Every Man Should Read

    An unranked, incomplete, utterly biased list of the greatest works of literature ever published.

  79. 100 Best Novels Written in English

    Respected literary critic Robert McCrum selects the definitive 100 novels written in English.

    The Guardian
  80. 100 Major Works of Modern Creative Nonfiction

    Essays, memoirs, autobiographies, biographies, travel writing, history, cultural studies, nature writing--all fit under the broad heading of creative nonfiction, and all are represented here: a list of 100 major works of creative nonfiction published by British and American writers over the past 80 years.
  81. 100 Most Influential Books of the Century

    Boston Public Library's list of "The 100 Most Influential Books of the Century". A booklist for Adults.

    Boston Public Library
  82. 20th Century's Greatest Hits: 100 English-Language Books of Fiction

    The 20th Century’s Greatest Hits: 100 English-Language Books of Fiction is a popular "best of" list compiled by Larry McCaffery largely in response to Modern Library 100 Best Novels list (1999), which McCaffery saw as being out of touch with 20th-century fiction. McCaffery writes that he sees his list "as a means of sharing with readers my own views about what books are going to be read 100 or 1000 years from now".

    Larry McCaffery
  83. 50 Books to Read Before You Die

    Barnes and Noble's selection of the 50 most essential books.

    Barnes and Noble
  84. Books of the Decade

    The 50 books that defined the decade(2000)

    The Guardian
  85. Costa Book Award - Best Novel

    The Costa Book Awards are a series of literary awards given to books by authors based in the United Kingdom and Ireland. They were known as the Whitbread Book Awards until 2005, after which Costa Coffee, a subsidiary of Whitbread, took over sponsorship. The awards, launched in 1971, are given both for high literary merit but also for works that are enjoyable reading and whose aim is to convey the enjoyment of reading to the widest possible audience. As such, they are a more populist literary prize than the Booker Prize.

    Costa Coffee
  86. D. G. Myers’ 50 Greatest English Language Novels

    D. G. Myers’, critic and literary historian’s 50 Greatest English Language Novels. A critic and literary historian for nearly a quarter of a century at Texas A&M and Ohio State.

    D. G. Myers
  87. Entertainment Weekly's Top 100 Novels

    Entertainment Weekly’s Top 100 Novels (2013), as selected by the EW staff in its July 5th 2013 issue

    Entertainment Weekly
  88. Extreme Classics: The 100 Greatest Adventure Books of All Time

    The 100 greatest adventure books chosen by National Geographic.

    National Geographic Adventure Magazine
  89. Le Monde's 100 Books of the Century

    The 100 Books of the Century (French: Les cent livres du siècle) is a list of the one hundred best books of the 20th century, according to a poll conducted in the spring of 1999 by the French retailer Fnac and the Paris newspaper Le Monde. Starting from a preliminary list of 200 titles created by bookshops and journalists, 17,000 French voted by responding to the question, "Which books have stayed in your memory?" (« Quels livres sont restés dans votre mémoire ? »). The list of acclaimed titles mixes great novels with poetry and theatre, as well as the comic strip. The first fifty works on the list were the subject of an essay by Frédéric Beigbeder, The Last Inventory Before Liquidation, in which he notably drew attention to its French-centred character.

    Le Monde
  90. Man Booker Prize

    The Man Booker Prize for Fiction, also known in short as the Booker Prize, is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original full-length novel, written in the English language, by a citizen of either the Commonwealth of Nations, Ireland, or Zimbabwe.[1] The winner of the Booker Prize is generally assured of international renown and success and, for this reason, the prize is of great significance for the book trade.[2] It is also a mark of distinction for authors to be nominated for the Booker longlist or selected for inclusion in the shortlist.

    Man Booker Prize
  91. Modern classics: 11 novels that belong in the classroom

    When we think of English lit classes, we usually think of Hawthorne, Melville, Austen, Tolstoy, Dickens. But the times, they are a-changin’ and so too are the books we read, both in and out of the classroom. Since the millennium, a lot of good—nay, great—books have been published by masterful authors, all of whom are deserving of a spot on a high school or college curriculum. And as evidenced by these 11 novels, whoever said there were no new ideas didn’t know what they were talking about.
  92. National Book Award - Fiction

    The National Book Awards are among the most eminent literary prizes in the United States. Started in 1950, the awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the prior year, as well as lifetime achievement awards including the "Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters" and the "Literarian Award". The purpose of the awards is "to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America.

    National Book Foundation
  93. National Book Award - Nonfiction

    The National Book Awards are among the most eminent literary prizes in the United States. Started in 1950, the awards are presented annually to American authors for literature published in the prior year, as well as lifetime achievement awards including the "Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters" and the "Literarian Award". The purpose of the awards is "to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of good writing in America.

    National Book Foundation
  94. National Book Critics Circle Award - Fiction

    The National Book Critics Circle Award is an annual award given by the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) to promote the finest books and reviews published in English.

    National Book Critics Circle
  95. National Book Critics Circle Award - Nonfiction

    The National Book Critics Circle Award is an annual award given by the National Book Critics Circle (NBCC) to promote the finest books and reviews published in English.

    National Book Critics Circle
  96. Paste Magazine's Best Books of the Decade(2000-2009)

    The top 20 best books of the 2000s by Paste Magazine. It includes both fiction and nonfiction.

    Paste Magazine
  97. PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

    The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is awarded annually by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation to the author of the best American work of fiction that year. The winner receives US $15,000 and each of four runners-up receives US $5000. The foundation brings the winner and runners-up to Washington, D.C. to read from their works at the Great Hall of the Folger Shakespeare Library. The PEN/Faulkner Foundation is an outgrowth of William Faulkner's generosity in donating his 1949 Nobel Prize winnings, "to establish a fund to support and encourage new fiction writers." Mary Lee Settle was also one of the founders after controversy at the 1979 National Book Award.[1] It is affiliated with the writers' organization International PEN. The award was first given in 1980.

  98. Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography

    The Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography has been presented since 1917 for a distinguished biography or autobiography by an American author.

    Pulitzer Prize
  99. Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

    All the books that have won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction from 1948 to the present.

    Pulitzer Prize
  100. Pulitzer Prize for History

    The Pulitzer Prize for History has been awarded since 1917 for a distinguished book upon the history of the United States. Many history books have also been awarded the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction and Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography. Two people have won the Pulitzer Prize for History twice; Margaret Leech, for Reveille in Washington, 1860-1865 in 1941 and In the Days of McKinley in 1960, and Bernard Bailyn, for The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution (1968) and Voyagers to the West: A Passage in the Peopling of America on the Eve of the Revolution (1987).

    Pulitzer Prize
  101. Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction

    The Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction has been awarded since 1962 for a distinguished book of non-fiction by an American author that is not eligible for consideration in any other category.

    Pulitzer Prize
  102. Robert McCrum's top 10 books of the twentieth century

    Robert McCrum is The Observer's literary editor and the author of, among other books, My Year Off. This is a list of this top 10 books of the twentieth century.

    The Guardian
  103. The 100 Best Books of the Decade(2000)

    The Time's list of the 100 Best Books of the 2000s. It's a mix of fiction and nonfiction.

  104. The 100 Greatest American Novels, 1893 – 1993

    The 100 greatest american novels picked by Jeff O’Neal, Editor-in-Chief & Co-founder of

    Jeff O'Neal at
  105. The 10 Best of the Decade(2000)

    Entertainment Weekly's top 10 best books of the 2000s

    Entertainment Weekly
  106. The 50 Books Everyone Needs to Read, 1963-2013

    The choices here are influenced by the following: the stipulation that any specific author should not be chosen for more than one year, a general focus on fiction over other genres, and the tastes/whims/glaring prejudices of Flavorwire’s literary editor.

    Flavor Wire
  107. The 75 Best Books of the Past 75 Years

    A list of voted on by 17 employees(book sellers) at Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN for Parade Magazine.

    Parade Magazine
  108. The Best Books of the 2000s

    The Best Books of the 2000s according to the Onion AV club. Includes Fiction and Nonfiction.

    The Onion AV Club
  109. The Best Southern Novels of All Time

    A list of the best southern novels of all time by Oxford American Magazine judged by 130 experts as well as authors.

    Oxford American
  110. The Book of Great Books: A Guide to 100 World Classics

    Editor W. John Campbell provides explanations and summaries for 100 of the world's best books.

  111. The Dream of the Great American Novel

    Writer Lawrence Buell discusses the primary contenders for the title of the "Great American Novel".

  112. The New Classics - 100 Best Reads from 1983 to 2008

    Entertainment Weekly's list of the 100 best reads from 1983 to 2008.

    Entertainment Weekly
  113. The Telegraph’s 100 Novels Everyone Should Read

    The best novels of all time from Tolkien to Proust and Middlemarch

  114. Top 10 British, Irish or Commonwealth Novels from 1980 to 2005

    The Observer asked 150 literary luminaries to vote for the best British, Irish or Commonwealth novel from 1980 to 2005.

    The Observer